Browsing Category Features

Ty Segall on Aphrodite’s Child – 666

As long as Hidden Gems has been a series, I’ve had a few folks on the shortlist for contributions. Pretty close to the top has always hovered Ty Segall, long a fixture here at RSTB, but also an understandably busy acquisition for the feature. As Ty’s latest, First Taste, approaches next month he’s found some time to think on a rare gem of psychedelic proportions while also giving a bit of insight into how it may have helped shape his new album’s sound. While First Taste might not reach double-fold prog lengths like Freedom’s Goblin its still mining an off-kilter pop sensibility, rooted in psych touches and prog embellishments. This time around the entire record is boiled down to sharp, punchy track lengths, a quality that also informs the third LP from Aphrodite’s Child. The band, and its harrowing, biblical epic 666, served as one of the first outlets for synth master Vangelis, but it’s equally a showcase for sharp-toothed soothsayer Demis Roussos. Though the band’s album spanned four sides of vinyl, they shook prog conventions by keeping the tracks rather tight, spurning the instinct towards improvisation, but not the instinct towards delightful excess. Check out how this album came into Ty’s life and the impact it’s had on his work.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Best of 2019 (so far)

It’s been a hell of a year so far and now it’s time to run down the albums that have stuck around the turntable the longest. For all the fraught emotions and everyday injustices, there’s still some bright spot of solace in music. That’s not a trade-off, but its something to keep you going. As usual, these are the best records that filter through the Raven aesthetic. I’ll be off next week on vacation so this 30-spot plus the ensuing two and a half hour mix will have to hold you for a week. Gonna take a break until the 2nd week of July. The second half of the year already has a few front runners, so enjoy these gems before the tail end of 2019 comes running atcha.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Nick Mitchell Maiato on Rusty Kershaw – Rusty…Cajun in the Blues Country

The new wave of Cosmic Americana brought in a lot of quality cuts last year, but one of my favorites had to be the debut from One Eleven Heavy —the softly choogled psych outfit that brought together members of Wooden Wand, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura, Royal Trux, and Hans Chew. The band’s record shelves, undoubtedly stuffed with RSTB bait, seem like the perfect fodder to riffle through for the Hidden Gems feature. In fact, James from the band contributed a pick a little while back, long before things had solidified with the Heavy. So with their sophomore LP on the horizon I figured it was time to ask co-founder Nick Mitchell Maiato to dig into his collection and pick out a record that hasn’t cast nearly enough shadow on the majority of the listening public. He picked out a country classic, that, despite being a key Neil Young influence, hasn’t always been elevated to its proper due. Check out how the record came into Nick’s life and the impact its had on his songwriting.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Design Inspiration: Ardneks

The Design Inspiration series has long been one of my personal favorites around here. As much as I love the songwriters and bands that make up the bulk of the coverage here, I’m equally enthralled by the visual artists who define the look of modern psychedelia and forward-thinking graphic design. Usually this feature focuses on cover art, and today’s artist has certainly created a few memorable ones, including recent favorites from Shana Cleveland and Flamingods. However, at heart Ardneks is a master of poster art, weaving intricate details into packed designs that pop with a shock of colors. So, after some discussion on the expansion of scope in this feature Ardneks picked the five posters he found most influential on his style and I’ve highlighted some of his own detail-packed work above. Check out his picks below, a true tour of some of some psychedelic bedrock.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Caity and Shane of Olden Yolk on Tucker Zimmerman – Song Poet

Just last week Olden Yolk released their sophomore LP, a stunning mix of folk and subtle, blushing psychedelia. Its already pushing up the list of favorites for 2019, so naturally I jumped at getting a chance to look at one of the influences locked on the band’s own turntable. Caity and Shane give some background on finding, and constantly returning to, Tucker Zimmerman’s own sophomore stunner, his “Black Album,” originally issued with no title, and eventually rechristened Song Poet following a proper reissue in 2016. Check out how this record came into the band’s life and what makes it particularly special to them.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Kevin Morby on Paul Westerberg – Stereo

As I’ve previously mentioned this week Kevin Morby’s latest is a double-wide opus to spiritual connection and a step away from his usual guitar grounded albums. It’s a big and bold move that’s vaulting Morby even further into the indie rock pantheon’s ranks of ambitious songwriters. That’s not to disparage his back catalog in the least, though. The artist’s rise over the last few albums has been a constant source of joy over here and its great to have Kevin contribute a pick to Hidden Gems. For his pick Morby dips back into his reserve of youthful influences for a Paul Westerberg solo jaunt. Check out how this Midwestern classic came into his life and ultimately what role it played in shaping his own works.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Chris Forsyth on Robert Quine & Fred Maher – Basic

Over the past few years there have been few guitarists as singular and intriguing in moving the needle forward as Chris Forsyth. As I’ve mentioned in the past, he aims for some sort of ragged, ozone-blasted bliss and always come up shaking off the cinder and ash of sonic debris. He’s exactly the sort I’m always looking for with Hidden Gems – an artist with a perspective informed by years of carving through likeminded stringsmiths to better his feel for the instrument. Its no surprise that when asked what record was sorely overlooked he found solace in another singular guitarist, but his pick is as off the path of usual touchstones as one might hope. Picking a out a piece of Robert Quine’s history, Chris opts for an oft overlooked collaborative record from 1984 with Fred Maher. Check out how this came into his life and what impact the record and Quine have had on his music.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Shana Cleveland on Charlie Feathers’ – Tip Top Daddy

I’ve long been a fan of La Luz’ surf-soaked garage pop, and that’s in large part to the contributions to guitarist/singer Shana Cleveland. As she’s built up a body of work apart from the group, first with the Sandcastles and now standing alone with the imminent release of Night of the Worm Moon, she’s proving to be a nuanced and nimble songwriter capable of shaking off the both the garage and surf tags to explore waters well beyond her original launching grounds. I implored Shana to pick out a record for the Hidden Gems series that she though was a true hidden gem, lost to the ages and slipping between the cracks of culture. She’s chosen Norton’s roundup of Charlie Feather’s acoustic obscurities. Check out what brought this record into her life and what impact its had on her personally and artistically.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

The Coathangers’ Julia Kugel on Howlin’ Wolf – The Howlin’ Wolf Album

This year has been stuffed with great Hidden Gems and the latest continues the trend. After the release of one of their best album’s to date, The Coathangers’ Julia Kugel has passed along some wisdom from her own record shelves. If you’re unfamiliar with the band (which, frankly seems unlikely) their latest is a great place to start, boiling down their punk, post-punk, and garage impulses to a sound that’s serrated and sawing yet damnably hooky. The band is blessed with three strong songwriters, each bringing their own particular burn to the band and its great to get a look at what’s behind that burn, even just a bit. Julia chooses a conflicted blues classic for her entry. Check out her take on Howlin’ Wolf’s psychedelic period below.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Mary Timony on Libraness – Yesterday and Tomorrow’s Shells

Having any connection to indie rock over the last 25 years there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across the works of Mary Timony. From her groundbreaking work with Helium in the ‘90s to solo records that pushed the boundaries of guitar pop, the short-lived supergroup Wild Flag and now her excellent stint in power pop pummels Ex Hex – if you haven’t heard something from that resume, then you damn well should get listening. As Ex Hex embark on their second album Timony sent over a contribution to the Hidden Gems series, taking a look at an album she sees as woefully overlooked by the majority of the listening public. She chose an album close to her musically, the solo album by fellow Helium (and Polvo) member Ash Bowie as Libraness. Check out Mary’s assessment of the album and how it has affected her own writing and playing.

Continue Reading
0 Comments